A prizewinner of numerous international competitions, pianist Ji-Hyang Gwak performed within the event cycle Concerti del Tempietto – Festival Musicale delle Nazioni at Teatro di Marcello, in Rome. The exquisite program, wedded to Gwak’s refined style and preparation, stunningly honoured the beauty and power of piano repertoire.
A prizewinner of numerous competitions, world-class pianist Ji-Hyang Gwak has achieved international flare thanks to her versatility, energy, and technical mastery. As a performing solo pianist, chamber musician, and teacher, she made appearances across the United States, in Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Korea, and Italy. Ji-Hyang is the 1st prize winner of the Sicily International Piano Competition, Seattle International Piano Competition, The MFMC Rosamond P. Haeberle Memorial Piano Award, High Point Univ. Piano Competition, and the Michigan MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition. She also received prizes in numerous competitions such as 39th Joongang Music Concours, Korea-Germany Brahms Associations Concours, and was a semi-finalist at the Ricard Viñes International Piano Competition in Spain and the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition in New York City. She was selected to participate in summer festivals including the CCM Prague Festival in Czech Republic, Sicily Piano Festival in Italy, UFIPF (University of Florida International Piano Festival) in Gainesville, and PianoTexas in Fort Worth. Ji-Hyang obtained a Bachelor of Music in piano performance, summa cum laude, from Seoul National University and a Master of Music in piano performance and literature from Eastman School of Music. She is currently pursuing a Specialist degree at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Prof. Christopher Harding, where she earned a D.M.A (Doctor of Musical Arts) degree in piano performance in 2020.
On Sunday 26 of March, Ji-Hyang Gwak performed at Teatro di Marcello in Rome, within the event cycle Concerti del Tempietto – Festival Musicale delle Nazioni, showing a remarkable example of her technical precision and artistic sensibility. The challenging program spans over four composers who are milestones of different periods and geographies: J. Haydn, C. Debussy, F. Chopin, M. Mussorgsky. Piano Sonata in E minor, Hob. XVI: 34 by Haydn, performed with bright touch and musical freshness, impressed the audience immediately. Image Book 1 by Debussy showed a perfect technique and caught her listeners with charming atmospheres, able to reproduce the painted images with sound. Chopin’s Fantasie in F minor was performed with great mastery and natural flow, preparing the audience to the last composition of the program: Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky. This piano suite in ten movements, plus a recurring and varied Promenade theme, is a musical depiction of a tour of an exhibition of works by architect and painter Viktor Hartmann. Written in 1874, the composition has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists, and became widely known from orchestrations and arrangements produced by other composers and contemporary musicians, with Maurice Ravel‘s 1922 adaptation for orchestra being the most recorded and performed. Ji-Hyang Gwak, while offering her interpretation of Mussorgsky, enchanted everybody with her emotional depth and coreographic movements, rendering it the final highlight of an astonishing performance. In conclusion, Ji-Hyang Gwak’s concert at Teatro di Marcello has represented something rare for fans of classical music. The exquisite program, wedded to Gwak’s refined style and preparation, stunningly honoured the beauty and power of piano repertoire.